2010 March 24: MI Otsego (Allegan County): Otsego seeks to outlaw wood boilers

2010 March 24: MI Otsego (Allegan County): Otsego seeks to outlaw wood boilers

By Daniel Pepper
Interim Editor

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 12:57 PM EDT

Otsego city commissioners are considering outlawing outdoor wood-fired boilers in the city limits.

Commissioners had a first reading of a proposed ordinance to that effect at a Tuesday, March 17, special meeting. The meeting was moved from Monday because of the regional basketball game held at Otsego High School.

City manager Thad Beard said the way the boilers, which are outdoor wood furnaces that heat homes through hot water, burn creates a particulate that can bother nearby neighbors.

"The underlying factor is the science involved," Beard said. "Wood-fired boilers, as a result of the water jacket surrounding the furnace, they burn at a lower heat and have a higher percentage of particulate. Because of the high percentage of particulate, it hangs in the air.

"A regular (wood) furnace burns at a much higher heat than the boilers do.”

The particulate tends to hang in the air at about the level of the chimney, usually 8 feet, and then settle in a fairly wide area, he said.

The city investigated how others handle the problem.

"We looked at several communities and how they deal with them," Beard said. "Several do allow it, but only on 1-acre lots or 5-acre lots."

The matter came up, he said, because it was something of a hot topic among planning commissions and the city’s planning commission has several new members who heard about it in training.

Beard said the city had at least one being used.

"We’ve had complaints, not overwhelming, but we have had complaints," he said.

The commission will hold a second reading and hold a vote on the ordinance at a special meeting scheduled for Monday, March 29.

Contact Dan Pepper at dpepper@allegannews.com or at (269) 673-5534 or (269) 685-5985.

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